From Driving More to Driving Less: California’s Radical Shift Away from Car-Oriented Planning

Location: Urban Center Building, Parsons Gallery (2nd floor)
June 1, 2017 2:00 pm - June 1, 2017 3:00 pm

Afternoon Tea & Talk: Special Presentation by PSU's Urban Sustainability Accelerator

Free and open to all | Refreshments will be served
Please RSVP to

As part of its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California has passed a law leading to a radical shift in how it analyzes the environmental impact of proposed land use developments and transportation projects.  Instead of analyzing how a project can avoid creating additional traffic congestion (and maintain a certain “level of service”), it now requires developers and transportation projects to analyze how much new driving might result (“vehicle miles traveled”) and to reduce that additional driving.  

Developments near transit stations and in target infill areas no longer need to conduct any analysis of their impacts on congestion.  This is directly at odds with standard American practice, and yet comes from a state that led the nation in adoption of car-culture and car-oriented design. 

In this talk, PSU’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator (USA) director Robert Liberty and two USA consultants will share what they have learned working with the largest California metropolitan planning organizations to implement this policy change. What lessons from California’s new law might be relevant to Oregon and other states?  Could this be the beginning of a national trend?

  • Robert Liberty – Director, Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the Urban Sustainability Accelerator program, Portland State University; former Metro Councilor
  • Lynn Peterson – Transportation consultant and USA Expert Adviser; former Secretary of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation; former Sustainable Communities and Transportation adviser to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber
  • Samuel Seskin – Transportation consultant and USA Expert Adviser; former Transportation Business Group Director at CH2M and a principal analyst for the award-winning LUTRAQ project.

Please RSVP to

About the Urban Sustainability Accelerator:

USA is a joint program of PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions and the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning in CUPA.  We provide a year-long program of expert advice and assistance for participating cities in implementing an important sustainability project or program. Each city creates an "implementation team" with leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The implementation teams form a cohort group for mutual learning and support during the year. The year begins and ends with a convening of the teams in Portland, Oregon.

Share this: